Saturday, 31 May 2008

Mystery Tree may be a Broad-leaved Lime

Steven Falk who is Senior Keeper of Natural History, Warwickshire Museum, thinks that the tree with five large trunks is a lime tree of some sort with an old coppice stool, which is why it has several trunks. It is probably not more than 150 years old, because multi-stemmed trees always get a bigger basal girth than normal trunked ones. It is typically Small-leaved Lime that is encountered locally in woods like this, but the foliage looks too rounded, so there is a chance it may be Broad-leaved Lime (frequent in parks, but much scarcer as a woodland coppice stool).

I'll have to have several looks at this tree as it is so wonderful and maybe when it fruits, this may help a clearer identification. Mystery solved?

Monday, 26 May 2008

Bullimore Woods

A walk with a group from the Kenilworth WI was organised last Thursday, and off we went. It was a lovely warm morning and I cycled over to to Joyce's house and parked up there, as I had no idea on how to get to the woods even with a map. Although the bluebells were nearly over, one could see just how wonderful it had been a couple of weeks back. We focused on the trees and I was amazed by the wide variety: tall majestic ash trees, ancient oaks, tall beech, old hazel which had not been copiced for years, there was a patch of larch too, and some trees I could not identify. There were four of us walking and afterwards we went over to Joyce Hatwood's for lunch in her garden. Freda was there waiting for us and I liked this. Freda is also part of the Tuesday afternoon craft group, and now has difficulty walking. It was great to see as she is such wonderful company.

Going with people on walks has so many advantages: you get to know people on a different level, share your love of nature, and many eyes see so much more, and get to places you may not have reached otherwise. Bullimore Woods is approached through a narrow alley between two houses almost at the the end of Bullimore Grove. One of the walkers lives in a house backing onto the woods, and it had been years since she had been in there, and she told us how she used to take her grandchildren there for picnics when they visited.

Whilst we were walking I remembered the wonderful talk given by Steven Falk on the Trees of Warwickshire at the NCCPG, and the other ladies thought it would be wonderful if Steven could come and give the talk to our group. As the Chairlady has asked for suggestions for speakers next month, I've sent off an email to Steven at Warwickshire Museum asking whether he would be able to talk to us. I visited the site he has set up for a survey of the Trees of Warwickshire and Bullimore Wood is listed there, and I also found out that there are six other ancient woodlands in Kenilworth. I shall put it to the group that we explore some of the other woods.

Next day, Friday, as soon as Mr S arrived back, we organised ourselves to get out there, and this time I took my camera as I wanted to get a picture of the unidentified tree. Here it is:

The tree splits into five large trunks with lower branches some 25 feet above ground. The bark is quite remarkable and there was no other similar tree in these woods. If anyone has any idea do let me know. It was not the normal lime.

Clematis Josephine

On my return from Spain, the flowers on the clematis just at the end of our patio had started to open. They are lovely, and I recognised it as being the same as one I had planted in Swindon which I could see from the dining room window. Well thanks to a previous gardener, I can now see this one from our conservatory. There was still a nursery tag on this one, so it has a name too. There are quite a few clematis around the garden, and I am looking forward to seeing what they will be like too. There was an early flowering one of the arch by the shed, and this was out before the wisteria came into bloom. The information tells me that it will be blooming right through till the autumn, so this one will be in need of tender loving care and good feeds.

Blue Bench

This bench came all the way from Swindon with us. Its a few years old now and has many a tale to tell. It used to be under our dining room window and I can remember the bantams perching on the top and looking in at me having my breakfast in the mornings. Now it is half way down our garden in Kenilworth, under the wisteria, which was out in bloom when we returned from our visit to Jenny in Gerona.

Mr S said "first you must get rid of all the algae", and one evening I decided that it was time to tackle the job, so found a stash of sanding paper and a block and set to work. Then with a bucket of hot water, suds and bleach and with a scrubbing bush I set to work. I had remembered to change into decorating clothes and use my gloves, but as one does I took my gloves off at some stage and that is when I must have got my little boo boo! At the time I was so full of verve that I did not notice the injury, and it was only when I was tidying up that I felt the pain. There on the knuckle of my middle finger of my right hand was a flap of skin hanging off the size of a large pea. These last few days it has been giving me gip.
Even though it is a few days since I painted the bench, I still have my little wound but that the flip side is that I can look out of the kitchen window and see some blue, even if the sky is grey.